The War Hound and the World's Pain (Von Bek, #1)
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The War Hound and the World's Pain (Von Bek #1)

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  830 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Lured to the dead kingdom while traveling Europe's ravaged landscape, the War Hound von Bek is entranced by the beautiful and strange Lady Sabrina. But in return for her love, he must meet her master ... Lucifer!
Paperback, 207 pages
Published November 1982 by Pocket Timescape (first published 1981)
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Stephen
Behold the Man
Michael-Moorcock-001

Who else but Michael Moorcock, in all his devious craftiness, could employ Satan, Heaven & Hell, souls, damnation, and a quest for the Holy Grail, as tools for a story whose central premise is a call for humanity to eschew religious belief and embrace scientific discovery and secular self-determination. I mean…damn…regardless of which side of the God debate you place yourself, Moorcock deserves some major kudos for having both the sack and the creativity to use plot elements...more
Mel
I enjoy this book, even though Von Bek is an idiot. It's amusing to watch him accept everything that Lucifer tells him as the truth without any questions at all. The book is typical Moorcock fantasy, complete with the sardonic hero, the loyal sidekick, the dandy that may or may not be an ally, and a war between gods. Still, the (mostly) real world setting makes it more interesting to me than the made-up settings of Elric, Corum, and other Eternal Champions.
Clay
Fascinating look at the 30 Days War before the Dawn of Reason. The battle between Lucifer and God is played out across war scared Europe as The fallen One vies for a return to Grace enlisting the aid of doomed mortals in a deadly chess match.

I can't recall a book where both God and Satan are portrayed this way and it is amazing. The Devil is not all bad and God is not all good. Put that in your pipe and smoke it...
Adam
While it doesn't quite transcend expectations like some of Moorcock's books, this moody adventure that reads a little like Vance meets Bunyan has some interesting speculations on theology.Gruesome violence of the 17th century setting also helps keep this memorable. Fans of Phillip Pullman's fantasies should search it out. What was up with the giant cat? I love his books for inexplicable weirdness like that.
Jim
We all have our strange little rituals. Mine is, at the beginning of every year, to read nothing but authors with whose work I am unfamiliar. (Occasionally, I have sinned; but mostly, I keep to this.) A few weeks ago, I read a laudatory review of Michael Moorcock in the Times Literary Supplement. The only one of his books that caught my eye at the local library was The War Hound and the World's Pain, so I took it out not knowing quite what to expect.

How to describe it? Imagine something like Mil...more
Ulrich Krieghund
Look at the beautiful figure on the cover. Doesn't he look striking? Angelic perhaps? Would his words soothe your soul, comfort you? Perhaps you should give his story a listen. You won't be disappointed. You might even discover the source and cure for the world's pain.

This story focuses on the fantastic adventure of a professional soldier named Ulrich Von Bek. He has captured/killed many enemy soldiers and proven so excellent at waging war that he he has earned some measure of fame and a nickna...more
Tim Pendry
Mar 23, 2008 Tim Pendry rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Moorcock Fans
An early fantasy classic of war and of dealings with the forces of darkness [though with Moorcock's usual ambiguity]. The violence of early modern central europe and the reality of knightly values pulls the fantasy-fascism of Elric down to earth and sharpens the sense of what cruelty really is. Certainly an early high point in Moorcock's fluctuating canon. The first of the long Von Beck cycle which weakens with time.
Erik Graff
Sep 15, 2011 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Moorcock fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: literature
Moorcock is usually classed as a science fiction/fantasy author. This book might be classed as a theological fantasy as the major character is Lucifer. As ever, I appreciate fresh takes on old symbols and I like historical novels.
Troy Rutman
The hot cover lured this prepubescent boy in. What he found was his reflection, pained by rejection.
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in May 2001.

The seventeenth century Thirty Years' War was a forerunner of devastating twentieth century conflicts. Disease and famine followed direct casualties and atrocities were carried out on a huge scale (the sack of Magdeburg an example) as bands of mercenaries rampaged out of control across the countryside. The religious background to the war was not reflected in Christian virtues during it.

Von Bek is a mercenary captain in the war. He has lost what fa...more
Old-Barbarossa
1st read in the '80s, just re-read it.
I think on re-evaluation this is one of my favorite Moorcock books (this and The Brothel in Rosenstrasse: An Extravagant Tale, incidentaly another Von Bek book).
Recently been reading a load of Arthurian texts and this is a grail quest too. But unlike a load of the Arthurian stuff it actually has a conclusion and, for Moorcock, a happy ending.
It has all the standard Moorcock stuff (apart from the gender bending/time traveling JC stuff): Law vs Chaos; nearly e...more
Stephen Brooke
Unlike the Blues Brothers, Ulrich von Bek was on a mission from Lucifer.

Michael Moorcock’s fantasies have always tended to have a philosophical and, sometimes, theological bent to them, but this is more evident than ever in ‘The War Hound and the World’s Pain,’ a tale of Lucifer attempting to achieve his own redemption with the aid of a 17th Century mercenary captain — the ‘war hound’ of the title. The story begins against a backdrop of the brutality of the Thirty Years War in Germany but soon v...more
Shannon Appelcline
A nice bridge book, lying between Moorcock's older swords & sorcery and his newer, more philosophical novels. This provides some interesting orthagonal looks at his multiverse and also rather amusingly is a rejection of all things fantastic.
My Inner Shelf
Avec un titre superbe et mystérieux, ce roman se présentait sous les meilleurs auspices. Belle écriture, contexte intéressant, personnages classiques. Un mercenaire éduqué et instruit est amené à conclure un pacte avec Lucifer. Ce dernier souhaite retrouver sa place au Paradis et demande au héros de trouver le Graal, afin d'éradiquer la douleur du monde. Notre mercenaire, qui souhaite également récupérer son âme au passage, entame donc une quête improbable. Et c'est là que les choses changent. C...more
Michele (Mikecas)
Da:

http://www.webalice.it/michele.castel...

Di Moorcock avevo già parlato presentando le raccolte dei racconti del suo eroe più famoso, Elric di Melniboné. Da quella presentazione appare evidente che io non abbia mai apprezzato molto Moorcock, pur riconoscendogli una certa originalità nel mondo dell'eroic fantasy, ed una qualità di scrittura che lo pone un gradino più sù dei suoi contemporanei e precedenti. Perché allora questo ritorno ad un autore non tanto amato?
Perché sul blog Plutonia Experim
...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
Captain Graf Ulrich von Bek is a scholarly German aristocrat of the 17th century whose military career has devolved into the role of mercenary in the Thirty Years War. Disgusted by his participation in the massacre and torching of the city of Magdeburg in 1631, and detecting the early signs of plague among the remnant of his forces, he strikes off on his own. He finds himself in a forest eeirly absent of all animal life. On a mountain in the forest he discovers an immaculately maintained castle,...more
Traummachine
For about 15 years now I've been a huge fan of Moorcock's Elric series. I've read the original series several times, and I'd recently thought about reading the "new" Elric books (hey, '89 and '91 are new compared to the 60s and 70s). But for some reason I decided to give one of his other series a shot, and I'm really glad I did.

War Hound is the first book in a series centered on the Von Bek family. Unlike most fantasy I read, this was set in Europe during the 30 Years' War, so I didn't expect mu...more
Paraíso Cuatro
Según nuestro compañero de página Ferran Canetenc, para seleccionar un libro de entre varios acumulados en la pila de lecturas, ni sinopsis, ni portada, ni autor de renombre… no hay nada mejor que leer el primer párrafo del libro en cuestión, y a continuación, el último. Si hacemos este experimento con El perro de la guerra y el dolor del mundo, el resultado es esta bomba de relojería haciendo tic-tac.

Inicio: “Fue el mismo año en que la ola de crueldad exigía no solo la crucifixión de los jóvene...more
Audrey
Came late to this writer bur sure glad I was led there. I was fully taken by the originality of thought and character development; style was fresh too, but took some getting used to. Love the use of "thee" and "thou" and wholly rocked by the use of capitals. Am going on to 2d chronicle.
Geoffrey
17th century Europe and Hell as settings? What's not to like? This first "confession" of a member if the Von Beck family is briskly paced, and contains a great deal more philosophy than sword & sorcery. I'm rather surprised it hasn't been adapted into a film.
Joe Stamber
Von Bek was another new character from MM, destined for his own series. This first story is loosely set among historical events a few hundred years ago with God and the Devil fighting out with lots of hacking and slashing going on between their minions. Yet again, MM has come up with a fascinating take on something we are familiar with, and of course there is the usual wierdness thrown in just to keep reminding you who the author is.
Mikesokolov
I spent my teen years devouring the Moorcock library: Corum, Elric, Hawkmoon, Cornelius, and the Dancers. Now I've rediscovered him and find he's written lots of books I never knew about. This is one. I tore through it as I used to, but I find my appetite for the next in the Von Bek series is not what I expected. The moralizing was a bit heavy-handed in this one. Were the others like that? I'll have to go back and see.
Squire
"It was in that year when the fashion in cruelty required not only the crucifixion of peasant children, but a similar fate for their pets as well, that I first met Lucifer and was transported into Hell; for the Prince of Darkness wished to strike a bargain with me."

This is included in the Von Bek (EC#2) omnibus, but i included it separately because this is my favorite Moorcock fantasy title.

melo
un signor fantasy, una quest classica, ma di quelle toste. al soldo di Lucifero. in un mondo che è il nostro, durante la guerra dei trent'anni, ma con una secchiata di sovrannaturale a condimento.

un libro che porta a ragionare, va oltre al puro intrattenimento dell'avventura, e un autore che vale la pena di leggere e approfondire.
Rosie Powell
Though I enjoyed the style of writing, and the ideas about Heaven and Hell, God and Lucifer, and mankind's supposed free will, the misogyny was irritating. It's fantasy written by a man, so I perhaps should have expected it. I would have enjoyed the fantastic more if it were less casually sexist, but it was still interesting.
gilmae
Von Bek has for the longest time been my favorite of the Eternal Champions. There's something about the detachment, the amorality that reveals itself to be humanism, and the diffidence of the family that appeals more than the stiffness of Hawkmoon, the psychopathy of Elric and Erekose, and the death wish of Corum.
Ahimsa
Again, I kind of forgot what an excellent writer Michael Moorcock is. This is a great book, one that through judicious use of "panning-out" covers a year in a few pages and maintains that sword-and-sorcery pace throughout. There's nothing earth-shaking here, but fans of Moorcock should find this book a delight.
Ben Jones
easily one of the best Eternal Champion novels, the depiction of Satan is really good. Von Bek is an excellent anti-hero, not as tragic as Elric or Hawkmoon but still very interesting, and Sedenko is definately my favourite companion so far.
Joe Deangelo
I really enjoyed "The War Hound and the World's Pain". As another reader commented, it's a nice bridge between Moorcock's older swords and sorcery style, and his newer philosophical/literary style.
Jaye
I liked Moorcook a lot more when I was a teenager and he was writing (or had written, rather) straight-up swords-and-sorcery stuff. This was pretty heavy.
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Michael John Moorcock is an English writer primarily of science fiction and fantasy who has also published a number of literary novels.
Moorcock has mentioned The Gods of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Apple Cart by George Bernard Shaw and The Constable of St. Nicholas by Edward Lester Arnold as the first three books which captured his imagination. He became editor of Tarzan Adventures in 1956,...more
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